Letter from Minot pastor: Measure 1 is concerning

As published in the Bismarck Tribune on 11/1/14

by the Rev. Janet Mathistad, Minot

I wish to express my concerns regarding Measure 1, the “Personhood Amendment.” The measure’s proponents claim that this measure will not affect IVF fertility treatment. I find this claim to be disingenuous, as the record of their testimony at last year’s legislative hearings clearly states their definition that life begins at conception.

This definition of when life begins is also the position of Personhood USA, the Colorado-based group who testified in support of the measure and celebrates it on their website.

I am not for abortion but passing such an ambiguous measure could lead to a number of unintended consequences. In stating that “The right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected,” it could compel the state to pro-actively step in to protect life. There is no language to indicate exceptions for end-of-life decisions, pregnancies due to rape or incest, the conception involved in fertilizing eggs for IVF fertility treatments.

Protecting life at every stage isn’t just about being born or dying. Our goal can be to protect life for the nine months until birth, but then what is the state willing to do to ensure adequate financial resources to protect children regarding nutrition, easing poverty, parenting education, the child’s well-being and being loved by emotionally healthy parents.

Ward County alone has over 100 cases of child abuse or neglect each month. Every baby born deserves to be wanted and loved. People don’t choose abortion out of a crass and callous stance, but out of a complex of tragic issues. I am not for abortion, but life is too complicated for one vague and sweeping measure that would not solve much of anything. I urge a no vote.